Updated Wed, Nov 27, 2013 10:28 am
Ohio (5-1) passed yet another nonconference test Tuesday when it won its fourth straight game by defeating Mercer (4-3), 76-67.
Ohio received outstanding performances from its starting big men in its win over the Bears. Maurice Ndour continued his strong play this season, as he recorded his first career double-double as a Bobcat with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ndour also made two 3-pointers in the game. Senior forward Jon Smith nearly had a double-double of his own, as he totaled 16 points and nine rebounds.
T.J. Hall and Nick Kellogg also played well Tuesday night. Hall made 7-of-8 free throws and scored 11 points off the bench. Kellogg scored 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 shooting from the free throw line.
Rebounding was a point of concern for Ohio coming into the game, as Mercer entered Tuesday ranked 46th in the nation in rebounding. The Bobcats proved, though, that there was no reason to worry. Ohio won the rebounding battle against Mercer, 42-30. The Bobcats even managed to corral 18 offensive rebounds.
Ohio got off to a slow start from the field, as the team only shot 37.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range against Mercer.
The Bobcats kept the game close early on by getting to the free throw line and converting on their opportunities. The Bobcats shot an impressive 84.4 percent (27-of-32) from the free throw line against Mercer.
The game went into halftime with the Bobcats leading, 39-30. It looked as though Ohio was going to take the game in easy fashion when the Bobcats opened up the second half with an 18-7 run to push their lead out to 57-37.
However, that is when Mercer began to chip away at Ohio’s lead. Led by Langston Hall and Ike Nwamu, the Bears drew as close as 73-65. Hall finished the game with 24 points, and Nwamu pitched in 15 points of his own. They were the only two players in double figures for Mercer, though.
The road ahead for the Bobcats does not get easier as they will host the Evansville Aces (5-1) Saturday. That game is set to tipoff at 2 p.m.